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April was an intersection of reflection and action. We celebrated victories, acknowledged challenges, and renewed our commitment to a brighter future for all Californians.   

April, the month designated for Sexual Assault Awareness, served as a sobering reminder of the prevalence of sexual violence in our society. Shockingly, statistics reveal that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 33 men will experience sexual assault in their lifetime. Yet, amidst these devastating numbers, California stands firm in its commitment to combatting sexual assault and gender violence in all forms.  

April also celebrated Dolores Huerta Day, honoring a trailblazing figure whose contributions to labor rights, civil rights, and women’s empowerment have left a mark on California and the nation. As we pay homage to Dolores Huerta’s legacy, we reiterate our dedication to continuing the fight for a brighter, more equitable future for all. 

On Earth Day, we celebrated California’s role in leading the world toward a clean energy future. With the announcement that our state has increased battery storage tenfold in just five years, we celebrate a significant victory in our clean energy goals, reaffirming our commitment to climate action and sustainability. 

With states across the country continuing to enact restrictive abortion bans, California remains steadfast in championing reproductive freedom. We will never back down from the fight to expand access to abortions for those seeking care, ensuring that every individual has the autonomy to make decisions about their bodies. 

California also continues to assert its position as an economic powerhouse, maintaining its position as the fifth-largest economy in the world and the second-largest economy per capita. However, our commitment to progress extends beyond our economy, with access to quality higher education remaining a top priority. This month, as California Dream Act Applications open to first-time financial aid applicants from mixed-status families, we reaffirm our dedication to providing opportunities for all Californians to pursue their educational aspirations. 

In closing, while celebrating our achievements and milestones, we acknowledge that our work is far from over. As we look ahead, let us remain steadfast in our pursuit of a brighter future for all, knowing that together, we can overcome any obstacle and build a state where everyone can achieve the California dream.  


Image of Lt. Governors signature

Eleni Kounalakis
Lieutenant Governor of California

Higher Education  

Reforming Title IX 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Mike Fong (AD-49) and members of the California State Legislature to unveil a package of bills to reform Title IX implementation at California’s colleges and universities. The “Call to Action” bill package includes a series of bills aiming further to protect students and staff on campus against sex discrimination.  

UCSF Groundbreaking Ceremony 

The Lt. Governor joined over 200 national, civic, business, and academic leaders to break ground on the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Health Helen Diller Hospital. The $4.3 billion project, slated to open in 2030, will be instrumental in expanding care for the San Francisco community and beyond. With over 300 new beds, expanded operating and emergency rooms, and incorporating state-of-the-art technology, the UCSF Health Helen Diller Hospital will help address the 3,000-4,000 patients they have had to turn away annually because of lack of capacity. 

Association of California School Administrators Annual Leg Day 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis participated in a conversation at the Associate of California School Administrators (ACSA) Annual Leg Day. Moderated by ACSA Executive Director Edgar Zazueta, the conversation touched on crucial topics in TK-12 education, such as teacher shortages, infrastructure needs, and how to approach the rapid expansion of artificial intelligence in education. 

UC Regents Update 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined the University of California Regents in appointing Rich Lyons as the 12th Chancellor of UC Berkeley. Lyons will succeed Carol Christ, who has led the university since 2017. In comments during the meeting, the Lt. Governor emphasized her excitement for Dr. Lyons taking on this role and her commitment to working with him as Regent to help the campus address the needs of students. 


Greek Independence Day at the White House 

In celebration of Greek Independence Day, Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined Vice President Kamala Harris in welcoming His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros to Washington, D.C. President Joe Biden also welcomed the Lt. Governor at the following Greek Independence Day celebration at the White House. 

California Primary Care Association 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis participated in a live conversation with the California Primary Care Association as part of Legislative Advocates Day at the Capitol. The Lieutenant Governor and providers discussed key issues such as healthcare access, challenges facing rural community health clinics, and environmental concerns. 

John Burton Advocates for Youth Celebration 

This month, Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined John Burton to celebrate his leadership and the 20th anniversary of John Burton Advocates for Youth (JBAY). Thanks to the leadership of John Burton, JBAY has played a pivotal role in improving the lives of homeless and foster youth through advocacy and support and expanding foster care in California to provide extra support as youth transition to adulthood.  

International Affairs 

Meeting with Ambassador Bruce Heyman 

On April 16th, Lt. Governor Kounalakis met with Bruce Heyman, former U.S. Ambassador to Canada, Rana Sarkar, Consul General, and leaders in finance, government, and technology to discuss the future of Canada-U.S. economic security and the importance of California strengthening the close ties between both economies. 


Joining Climate One for S.F. Climate Week 

On April 25th, Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined Climate One from the Commonwealth Club for a live conversation with Jennifer Barrera, the President and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce, and Greg Dalton, the Founder of Climate One. This event was part of a series hosted for S.F. Climate Week. 

During the conversation, the Lt. Governor highlighted California’s success in reducing emissions while growing the economy. She also discussed California’s progress in the state’s clean energy goals and current policies to address the climate crisis.

Western Growers Association 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined the Western Growers Association for their lunch Board Meeting for a conversation with the President and CEO of Western Growers, Dave Puglia, regarding California’s agricultural industry. California is the number one agricultural state in the nation, bringing in $54 billion in economic activity and growing nearly all the nation’s almonds, walnuts, pistachios, raisins, and many more. 

Napa Valley Recyclers Tour + Reception 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis participated in a tour of a recycling facility run by Napa Recycling & Waste Services. Napa Recycling & Waste Services is a local full-service company that provides recycling and composting services for the Napa region. During the tour, the Lt. Governor saw how recycling was collected from residential and commercial customers and how yard waste and other household organic waste is turned into compost.  

Globally, only about 9% of plastic is recycled. California has worked to address the issue by passing bills, such as SB 54, which requires all packaging in the state to be recyclable or compostable and 65% of all single-use plastic packaging to be recycled by 2032. 

Economic Development  

ACCESS Sacramento LA Chamber of Commerce Event 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis participated in the LA Chamber’s annual advocacy trip to Sacramento, called ACCESS Sacramento. Over 40 business and community leaders came to Sacramento to meet with policymakers to discuss pressing issues affecting the business community in Los Angeles. During the event, the Lt. Governor joined the LA Chamber President and CEO, Maria Salinas, for a conversation on small businesses, higher education, and workforce development. 

CalAsian Chamber’s 15th Annual Legislative Summit & Reception 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis attended CalAsian Chamber’s 15th Annual Legislative Summit and Reception for a conversation with Andrea Deveau. The Lt. Governor discussed how small businesses can leverage new opportunities in the state’s clean energy transition, AI, international trade, and what these changes mean for our workforce. 

Gender Equity  

Equality California Board Meeting  

This month, Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined Equality California (EQCA) for their 25th Annual Equality Awards, where members and attendees celebrated the work and advocacy EQCA has done for the LGBTQ+ community. EQCA is the largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization in the nation, with over 900,000+ members. Prior to the awards ceremony, Lt. Governor Kounalakis also attended their board meeting, where she discussed priorities in the gender equity space, including keeping LGBTQ+ youth and students on college campuses safe and supporting bills that fight discrimination.  

Legislative Updates 

Supporting Victims of Sexual Assault 

April is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and Lt. Governor Kounalakis is supporting legislation to ensure California law reflects the gravity of sexual assault. SB 268 (Alvarado-Gil), classifies the rape of an intentionally intoxicated person as a violent felony in California.  

The link to the full press release can be found here. 

“Any act of rape is inherently a violent act, even more so when a victim is intentionally drugged and then violated. It’s time that our laws reflect the gravity of these heinous crimes and provide survivors the justice and protection they deserve. said California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis. “I am grateful Senator Alvarado-Gil is addressing a critical gap in our state’s criminal justice system and for her courageous leadership in the fight for justice for survivors.” 

Eleni Kounalakis

Lieutenant Governor of California

The Fight for Reproductive Rights Continues 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined Governor Newsom and the Legislative Women’s Caucus for a press conference to announce new emergency legislation to help maintain critical abortion access for California’s neighbors in Arizona. 

SB 233 (Skinner/Aguiar-Curry) will allow Arizona abortion providers the right to practice and serve Arizona residents in California for a specified period. The Lt. Governor is co-sponsoring the bill. 

Jewish Caucus Reception 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis provided brief remarks at the California Legislative Jewish Caucus reception honoring Holocaust Remembrance Day (May 6, 2024) to reflect on the horrific acts committed during one of the darkest chapters of the world.   

The Jewish Caucus has championed legislation to address top Jewish community priorities such as hate crimes, anti-Semitism, community security, and Holocaust education. With the surge of antisemitic incidents since the October 7th attack, the Lt. Governor emphasized the importance of standing united against violence and hate in all forms. 

Housing & Homelessness 

Grants Pass vs. Johnson Supreme Court Hearing 

On April 22nd, Lt. Governor Kounalakis was in Washington D.C. to attend the oral arguments for Grants Pass vs. Johnson before the U.S. Supreme Court, a case that will have enormous consequences for the state’s ability to address the homelessness crisis. Right now, California has over 180,000 people experiencing homelessness. Although California has made historic investments to move the needle on this issue, states and cities must have the tools needed to keep communities safe and get unhoused people the services they need. 

Other Highlights  

  • Met with the California State Council of Laborers for California Lobby Day 
  • Attended the Laborers’ Annual 2024 Spring Reception for California Lobby Day  
  • Met with leadership from the University of California Chicanx Latinx Alumni Association (UC CLAA) to discuss the organization’s top priorities for the coming year 
  • Staff attended the visit of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and welcomed His Royal Highness to California